Takeaways from The Thriving Workplace Conference 2024

Integrating Head and Heart for Holistic Leadership

Takeaways from The Thriving Workplace Conference 2024

The Thriving Workplace Conference, organised by The Serenity Collective, brought together industry leaders to discuss the future of workplace well-being and the critical steps needed to foster a supportive and engaging environment for employees. The conference explored a holistic approach to leadership to navigate the complex and evolving business and societal landscape, emphasising that leaders must take risks, embrace change, and lead with empathy while keeping their people safe. They need to be bold, adaptable, and inclusive, balancing head and heart. 

The insights shared were both inspiring and actionable. Here are my key takeaways:

Opening Session with Rebecca Dunn

The conference opened with a beautiful session led by Rebecca Dunn, a Wayapa Practitioner, who emphasised our lost connection to the earth (and Country) and the need to repair it. This sentiment beautifully captures the long-term perspective we need to adopt, not just in how we treat the earth, but also in how we treat each other in the workplace.

This was followed by Kay Clancy (Wise Employment) and Mikey Ellis (Positive HR) discussing recent research that employees don’t feel psychologically safe (and therefore will not speak up, thus exasperating the problem and delaying a solution, typically leading to high rates of attrition). This was emphasised with Gartner research stating that 51% of employees have more work than they can manage and 53% are experiencing mental stress.

Implementing solutions to address these issues is critical if workplaces are to move to thriving.

Trusted Perspectives on the Now of Work

This session featured a panel of experts including Meredith Wilson (The People Game), Avani Prabhakar (Atlassian), Gen Hawkins (Mentally At Work), Kevin Figuierado (Super Retail Group), and Damian Mu (AIA). They discussed the current state of the workforce and the challenges employees face:

Skills Gaps: Avani Prabhakar highlighted the significant skills gaps in Australia, stressing the need for companies to focus on employee retention and upskilling. This aligns with my belief that continuous development and support are crucial for employee satisfaction and retention.

Financial Concerns: Damian Mu noted that financial stress is a major issue for many employees, affecting their ability to thrive at work. He emphasised the importance of caring for people so they can perform well and attract capital into the business.

Support Systems: Kevin Figuierado emphasised the challenges faced by frontline workers, including daily abuse and financial stress. He highlighted the need for better support systems for these employees, reinforcing the idea that every worker deserves a safe and supportive environment.

Fresh Perspectives on the Now of Work

Emma Egan from People & Purpose explored why we don't have more women in leadership and how innovative organisations are using technology to facilitate behaviour change. Georgie Drury from Metluma emphasised the importance of addressing menopause in the workplace, noting that the average retirement age for women is 52, while the average age of menopause is 51. She stressed that menopause is a societal issue not a woman's issue requiring comprehensive organisational support.

Ryan McGory from Exsona highlighted the need for well-being programs that cater to all employees, advocating for equitable distribution of well-being funds based on employee needs. This underscores the importance of a truly inclusive workplace that considers the diverse needs of all its members throughout the entire work-life cycle.

Cultivating a Thriving Ecosystem

Lisa Hollinshead from One Another Community delivered a powerful call to action, urging organisations to move beyond discussions and start investing in solutions that genuinely support their workforce. She stressed that a thriving workplace requires commitment and budget allocation to implement effective strategies. This resonates with my belief that leaders need to bring their hearts into managing people and create a culture of care and connection.

Reflections from the Panel Discussions

Purpose and Belonging: Kevin from Super Retail Group emphasised the importance of a sense of purpose, a growth mindset, and a feeling of belonging. He advised asking oneself: 

“What is my purpose? What are my values? What are my ways of working?” 

Finding alignment with the business you are part of can lead to balance and fulfilment.

Agility and Innovation: Avani from Atlassian talked about the importance of being agile, embracing failure, and viewing AI as a tool. This perspective is crucial for staying competitive in today's fast-paced environment.

Heart-Led Leadership: Damian from AIA shared his vision of making Australia the healthiest nation in the world. He believes in heart-led leadership and the fine line between care and demand, emphasising that caring for people better enables them to perform and attract capital.

Key Statistics and Insights

Mental Stress: According to a Gartner survey, the percentage of employees reporting high mental stress increased from 18% in 2Q21 to 22% in 1Q24. This underscores the urgent need for organisations to prioritise mental health initiatives and provide adequate support systems for their workforce.

Implementing the Insights

To translate these insights into actionable strategies, consider the following steps:

Enhance Manager Training: Provide managers with the training and resources they need to support their teams effectively. Regular check-ins and feedback mechanisms can help managers stay connected with their employees.

Leverage Technology: Use platforms like triiyo to automate and personalise communication with employees during significant life transitions. This ensures consistent support and reduces the administrative burden on managers.

Promote D&I Initiatives: Actively work towards creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. Implement policies that support flexible working arrangements and equal opportunities for all employees.

Focus on Well-being: Develop programs and initiatives that prioritise mental and physical well-being. Encourage a work-life balance and provide access to mental health resources.

The Power of Human Connection

At triiyo, we believe that employers need to take a more human-centric approach to leading their teams. Leaders must bring empathy and compassion into their management practices, creating an environment where every employee feels valued and supported. A culture of care and connection is essential for workplaces to thrive.

triiyo provides a holistic and inclusive solution for all employees at every stage of their work-life cycle. By fostering a supportive and connected workplace, we help organisations not only retain their talent but also ensure that their employees can thrive both personally and professionally.

For more information on how triiyo can help your organisation, please contact me at [](

Rebecca Grainger is the founder of triiyo, an innovative platform that simplifies the management of life transitions at work. triiyo’s outsourced solution ensures employees stay connected and supported through every stage of the employee lifecycle.

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